Date Climbed: 05/31/2014
Distance: 10.1 miles
Low Elevation: 1483 feet
High Elevation: 3508 feet
Elevation Gain: 2450 feet
Elevation Loss: 2450 feet
Start Location: Reel Brook TH
Finish Location: Reel Brook TH
Route: Reel Brook Trail, Kinsman Ridge Trail, whack to Wolf and back, Kinsman Ridge Trail, Wolf outlook spur and back, Kinsman Ridge Trail, Reel Brook Trail
Weather: Overcast and drizzle, to clearing with a shower. 50s-60s. A little breeze on the ridge.
With plans to climb Katahdin in a couple weeks, I needed to step up my back into shape schedule and was looking for a 9 mile or so hike, with some decent gain. The Wild River Wilderness came immediately to mind, but the Wildcat River crossing gave me some pause, despite that I could bypass it. Then Reel Brook popped into the mix. Hmm. S. Kinsman? Nope, too far. With a mediocre forecast, going to Wolf would work, however. The WMG description made this trail sound like a mucky mess, and difficult to follow, but someone online said this trail was a treat. My mind was made up.
Date Climbed: 05/25/2008
Distance: 9 miles
Low Elevation: 1870 feet
High Elevation: 3478 feet
Elevation Gain: 2838 feet
Elevation Loss: 2838 feet
Start Location: Kinsman Ridge TH, Rt. 112
Finish Location: Kinsman Ridge TH, Rt. 112
Route: Kinsman Ridge Tr, with short trips to Blue Ridge & Wolf. BW to old AT (couldn't find) then to Gordon Pond. Gordon Pond Tr. To Kinsman Ridge trail.
Weather: Perfect sunny, upper 60s.
First part of trail is steep, not great for first starting a hike! After that, pretty easy stuff, especially as I was feeling pretty strong up to Wolf. Found the jar (first one ever!) on Blue Rige in about 5 minutes, Wolf was only about 1-2 minutes as there was a herd path to it. Beautiful trail, with ridge views, little glades, boggy areas. Trail was moist in spots up to Gordon Pond, but then got wetter. Nothing major._x000D_
Got down from the Wolf viewpoint, and started the 'whack to the first waypoint, SE from Wolf to the old AT. Was steep at first, with my foot occassionally going into a hole, but doable. Still, had doubts from the get-go, especially when I started slipping a little, realizing I'm completely alone out here. And then the spruce/fir hell began about halfway down. Once is a while would get onto an animal path, but other than that it was spread the branches, look where to step, grab on to something, take a step, repeat. Kept watching the mileage on the GPS go down extremely slowly. Finally got to the AT waypoint, and thought I might be able to pick out a trail, but very questionable. There were a lot of deer/moose beds there. Track shows I was pretty much standing on it. Not sure when it was relocated. _x000D_
Soooo, decision time. Got very concerned at this slow pace it would be pushing my luck to go on to Wolf Cub, especially not knowing when the spruce/fir might let up. Decided to bail, shooting for the low point, but no matter what, the spruce/fir hell wouldn't let up. Started getting despondant at that point. Hit the brook, and decided to follow that with still slow going for the same reasons. Considered walking the brook, but wasn't in the mood for hypothermia :-)_x000D_
And then I saw it. The orange flagging. There did appear to be a trail associated with it (as reported), so followed that. And that was the last orange flag I saw. Argh. Decided not to backtrack, as I had pretty much had it by then, and finally made my way to Gordon Pond. It was sure nice to walk (quickly!) on the grass out there. Sat there for a good long time looking back at Wolf and the Cub ridge. _x000D_
Headed out on the spur path to the pond, and ended up knee deep in mud before I realized I was heading south on the trail. Backtracked and then I just happened to spot the stream crossing. Sheesh. Trail was pretty wet. Went back without incident, although my legs pretty much had no more "up" in them. No complaints about the steep descent to 112 :)_x000D_
Snow above 3000' in patches. No more than 1' deep._x000D_
So this would be my first multiple peak attempt in my goal of doing the NH 3000+. While a completing a list appeals to the engineer in me (like, in the worst way), I also see it more as a means to the end - the method of visiting peaks I might not otherwise, I love different viewpoints, and I'm becoming more interested in finding long lost natural and manmade curiousities. So seeing Blue Ridge, Wolf and Wolf Cub bunched together had an appeal to me. I've done a little bushwhacking in the Whites in the past, and plenty of it further south, including the Mink Hills preserve behind my house (ohhh, how convenient). I can readily use a map and compass to get where I'm going, so I figured this (ahem) little whack to Wolf Cub shouldn't be too horrible. Ahh, grasshopper, how much we still have to learn